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Hell Week Redefined

This last week has been hell in a number of different ways. The first-years had their interviews for internships, the war in the Middle East loomed ever closer and seven very intelligent, amazingly accomplished people lost their lives in space. On this basis, the mood of despondency on campus is understandable. One person summed it up. He said “It’s mucked up times we live in” only he used a letter from further up the alphabet than “m.” So here’s a little “pick-me-up.”

To all you first years
I spent a lot of time in Spangler this last week and I can honestly say that you all scrub up to look amazing. There was not a mismatched pair of socks in sight and, though you may not have been feeling it, you all looked really confident. And it’s those first impressions that count. You will probably never have this degree of competition for a job again. So, if nothing comes of it, and you find yourself staring down the barrel of an unexpected three month summer holiday, just go forth and enjoy. You’ll probably look back on it as a good “mental health” investment.

A case in point
The partners club ran a “Case Night” on Wednesday so we could get first-hand experience of what the other half does up to three times a day, five days a week for what must feel like infinity. I am even more impressed now than I was before. I will confess that the case was read at 11:30pm the night before. I am not lost on the irony of having my husband ask me when I am likely to have finished it. (I told him it was probably going to be after I had cracked the financials. And it was only because he loves me that he didn’t laugh in my face but waited until he had closed the door.) We were privileged to have Prof. Bill Sahlman teach the class and he made a poignant comment early on. He graduated during the recession of the early seventies when it was equally, if not more, difficult to find a job. He told us the bad times don’t last forever. I’ll draw that out a little further and say: the bad times will always be remembered positively if you can learn something from them. And if that doesn’t work, there is always the alumni database.

On the brighter side, it’s getting warmer. Days are getting longer, ice is melting. The Canadian geese on the Charles are slowly defrosting. And if you’re wanting a good laugh just watch the squirrels building nests sometime – they’re really terrible at it (there’s not a civil engineer amongst them), they have terrible materials to work with and they have the same battle every single winter. And this winter was a particularly bad one.

February 10, 2003
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